All the winners from the Norfolk and Suffolk Tourism Awards
- Credit: Archant
The region's top tourism firms have celebrated their industry at the annual Norfolk and Suffolk Tourism Awards.
The awards, hosted by Archant, the publisher of the Eastern Daily Press and East Anglian Daily Times, and sponsored by Hoseasons, brought together businesses from across the sector.
Winning the Outstanding Contribution Award, sponsored by the event's headline sponsor Hoseasons, was Paul Searle, the boss of family business Searles Leisure Resort in Hunstanton.
This resort has been in "Sunny Hunny" helping make happy memories for holidaymakers since 1910 when William and Alice Searle set up a successful boarding house. William purchased a plot of land to keep donkeys and would sell caravan pitches in exchange for a bag of potatoes - and by 1934 it was the start of Searles Leisure Resort. On receiving the award, to a standing ovation, Mr Searle said: "I'm absolutely thrilled, what a fantastic achievement infront of my peers, I'm speechless." He later told this newspaper: "I am passionate about family time, it's so important."
Hosting the evening at Milsoms, Kesgrave Hall in Suffolk, was David Whiteley, from BBC's Inside Out.
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Other winners included Palace House, Newmarket, the home of Great Britain's National Heritage Centre of Horseracing and Sporting Art in the remaining part of Charles II's racing palace. It scooped the Berry Savory Best Small Visitor Attraction, sponsored by the Norfolk and Suffolk Tourist Attractions and insight6.
Holkham, centred around Holkham Hall, an 18th Century country house built for the First Earl of Leicester in north Norfolk, received the Berry Savory Best Large Visitor Attraction award, also sponsored by the Norfolk and Suffolk Tourist Attractions and insight6.
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The Imperial Hotel, Yarmouth, won the Customers at the Heart of Everything award, sponsored by Camplings.
The evening was kicked off by the business editor of the EDP and EADT, Richard Porritt.
After the event he said: "What a great evening - the Tourism Awards are always fantastic and this year was no different. We had an incredible number of entrants this year and the quality was the best ever. So the finalists and winners should be very proud of what they have achieved. Awards like these give us the opportunity to celebrate some of the wonderful things we do here in the East of England and make sure everyone knows what the region has to offer."
He reminded people to fill in the MHA Larking Gowen Tourism, Leisure & Hospitality Business Survey, launched recently. The results of this survey creates a major resourceful tool for the tourist industry, highlighting challenges and successes.
To fill in the survey, click here
More than 250 guests attended the ceremony and 11 awards were handed out. A full list is below:
Marketing campaign of the Year, sponsored by Pear Communications - Norwich Science Festival; the Forum Trust
Self-catering Accommodation of the Year sponsored by Norfolk Cottages and Suffolk Secrets - The Suffolk Escape; Sheepyard Barn
Camping, Glamping and Holiday Park of the Year, sponsored by Norwich Camping & Leisure - Searles Leisure Resort
Customers at the Heart of Everything, sponsored by Camplings - Imperial Hotel
Berry Savory Small Visitor Attraction of the Year, sponsored by Norfolk and Suffolk Tourist Attractions and insight6 - Palace House, Newmarket
Berry Savory Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, sponsored by Norfolk and Suffolk Tourist Attractions and insight6 - Holkham
Staff Training Initiative of the Year, sponsored by K Foley LTD t/a McDonald's - Richardsons Leisure
Taste of Anglia Award, sponsored by the Maids Head hotel - The Duke's Head
Hotel of the Year, sponsored by Ensors chartered accountants - Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa
Family Event & Experience of the Year, sponsored by Dann's Norfolk Dairy Ice-cream - Norwich Science Festival; The Forum Trust
Outstanding Contribution Award, sponsored by Hoseasons - Paul Searle